I had the pleasure of interviewing communications coach Beth Noymer Levine. She graciously allowed me to share the following blog post, excerpted in part from her book, Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World, www.jocktalkbook.com.
More often than not, what makes people freeze before a big presentation is the nagging question, “Am I even doing this right?” and its companion, the fear of embarrassment.
I’m always taken aback when smart, successful, otherwise confident people reveal that they’re afraid to make a fool of themselves. I would never have guessed in most cases.
Trust me when I say that no one is “a natural” at speaking and presenting; even the best of the best think about it, worry, and work at it. Regardless of your style or your comfort level with public speaking, it’s wise to consider some core guiding principles for yourself as a speaker.
Below are five foolproof principles of being an effective speaker or presenter that will give you the confidence to know you’re “doing it right,” and will leave your audience quite impressed.
The five principles are:
Taken together, they send two really important messages about you to your audience:
- That you care about and respect them.
- That you’re real and therefore credible and trustworthy.
It may be a new term to you, yet it’s probably the most fundamental of the five principles. Simply put, audience-centricity is making the audience’s interests and experience a top priority in the planning and execution of a talk.
Too many speakers prepare and deliver what is important and interesting to themselves without enough careful considerations of their listeners. Being audience-centric is a mindset shift that encourages the speaker to prepare and deliver content in a way that will matter to and resonate with the audience.
It is exactly what you think it is; it’s about being open and direct — yes, and honest, too. Transparency is critical. It contributes to the levels of sincerity and trust that are accorded to you by your audience.
It is the art, skill, and willingness to be kind-hearted, fair and polite. As motivators and influencers, love and peace work far better than anger and war. Speaking in positives rather than negatives leaves lasting, favorable impressions.
Brevity is a crowd-pleaser and needs no further introduction.
Preparedness speaks for itself as well. The unprepared speaker is the one who is most likely to be long-winded, not to mention unfocused. While the mere thought of preparation might bring feelings of dread, the feeling of approaching the front of the room ill-prepared is far worse – and it shows.
Success is in the eye of the beholder – your audience. Show care and respect, be real, and your audience is much more likely to listen, like you, and be impressed.
SmartMouth Founder and Principal Beth Noymer Levine is a Communications Coach who is emerging as one of the country’s leading voices on how to prepare and deliver speeches and presentations that actually work for both the audience and the speaker.